Viewed – 03 April 2012 DVD
I come to this movie at a loss, as I don’t really have much knowledge of movie star Marilyn Monroe beyond her iconic image and an old Elton John song. That isn’t to say that her enduring iconic beauty hasn’t fascinated me. This movie attempts to show a candid, little seen side to the actress, from the viewpoint of a relative outsider to her harem of agents, acting coaches and bodyguards.
Colin Clark is a young man from a wealthy English family who yearns to be a part of the movie industry, so lands a job as an assistant director on a movie being directed by and starring Laurence Olivier. Yet the big name isn’t the famed english character-actor but that of his co-star, Hollywood superstar Marilyn Monroe. During the time on the movie Colin finds Marilyn not to be the confident, bold personality he’s been lead to believe but that of a shy, nervous and over-protected woman … who he falls in love with. This is a movie boasting a trio of excellent performances, and a story that sheds light on someone who was otherwise hidden behind a fake manufactured image. Marilyn is heart-breaking and tragic, but also endearing and funny; a free spirit not unlike Princess Diana, equally trapped in a world that suffocates her. I felt very sorry for her, and Michelle William’s remarkable performance really captures the frightened little girl inside. Kenneth Branagh is very good too as Olivier, coming across at first as hard-nosed and tough, whilst also gentle and caring, and is quite a joy to behold for an actor better known for his stiff Shakespearian roles. Yet I’m guessing the most impressive performance here is from Brit actor Eddie Redmayne as Colin, who falls for a legendary actress, and discovers the person within, at first star-struck, then totally captivated and understanding, to the point wanting to protect and save her. Yet Marilyn was too big a star to ever really be saved, and therein lies the tragedy of the real person beneath the glitz and glamour.
Harry Potter’s Emily Watson is waisted however as a wardrobe girl, and the movie fails to truly explore Marilyn Monroe, her time on the movie being all too brief to capture who she really was. Yet as a snapshot this small but enjoyable tale entertained and left me with an image of one of the world’s most famous actresses, unlike I had ever imagined.
Verdict: 4 /5